2. I don't recommend forgetting to put the gold filter in the coffee maker before setting the timer the night before. The coffee will be drinkable, but not very desirable.
3. Did I mention we had to replace our beloved Cuisinart coffee maker because the cabinets come down so low in this kitchen that it didn't fit? This wasn't even a problem in The 1938 House. I guess we could have just kept it on the dining room table, but... now it's ground coffee for us because ain't nobody got time to grind beans separately this year. We bought a DēLonghi coffeemaker because it was short.
4. It works out for Matt to pick up Maddie today; it also isn't a gym day, so Gracie and Bridget ride the bus to Little Korea (their Monday/Wednesday afternoon bus stop is like momentarily being in South Korea). THIS MEANS I DON'T HAVE TO DRIVE DOWNTOWN TODAY. It feels like I've won the lottery.
5. Are we the only people who are shocked and saddened by the killing-off of the 160 GB iPod Classic? I think we might be. Ours is a 2008 model. It can't last forever, and there won't be a replacement.
6. I KNOW I'm not the only person shocked and saddened by the killing-off of Aperture. The Aperture user websites I frequent are full of people like me. This might be the first time I've ever been dreading the big September Apple announcements, because it's been looming for months.
9. Maddie got all haughty with me yesterday about my lackadaisical attitude toward the Metric system. What can I say? What you're like as a 4th grader will pretty much be what you're like as a 41 year old, and I remember very distinctly not caring that much about the Metric system back then, either. Heh.
10. There are so many good movies coming up! Gracie most recently pointed out this one:
I tried to hack a Lifeproof case with a vase but it didn't really work.
Ellie and I stopped to smell the zinnias.
I shook my fist at Sam's Club in my head. Really? September 5?
I scrapbooked for Laura Kurz's class, Pen & Paper.
I had a super-fun date with a bunch of second graders to talk about public speaking (and marveled at how this school hangs up student work everywhere! This shouldn't really be a marvel, but an expectation, I know... we're still adjusting after a really hard year last year).
I shook my head at the sheer amount of bags it takes to get us through the day (and Matt's bags aren't even pictured, or our Tues/Thurs dinner-in-the-car bag)
We met up with some dear friends but didn't think to take a group photo until after everyone was hot, hungry, and tired. Heh. They had way more fun than it looks here.
I added another author (Daniel Wallace) to my list of authors I've met (that will make a good list! Stay tuned).
We had dinner at the home of an old friend of mine; Maddie and Eden were in utero friends, and went to a lot of grad school classes together at University of Wyoming before they were born. And now they're 12 : ) Eerie coincidence: Eden, P, and T (pictured above) all share the same first address, as they lived in the same house on base in WY (though not at the same time). Ha.
Gracie turned her old Graceland shirt into a really awesome decorative pillow. She is getting good at the sewing, this one.
I turned these strawberries into ice cream. Better than turning straw into gold, right?
I haven't been sleeping very well lately and decided I needed a new pillow. Instead of my usual Target $5 pillow purchase, I grabbed some standard/queen "Hotel Luxury Reserve Collection" pillows when I was at Sam's Club on Thursday. It is the best pillow I have ever slept on and I woke up this morning in the middle of a dream about how good my pillow was. The end.
3. I have finally figured out which logo belongs to Auburn and which belongs to Alabama. I still can't remember which school had its trees poisoned by the angry person, though, and can't figure out how an elephant and "roll tide" go together.
4. It doesn't really matter, because I've decided my Alabama team will be Alabama State anyway. The campus is pretty and the magic parking spot I recently discovered there cuts 20 minutes off the time it takes to pick up Gracie and Bridget from school across the street, which creates a debt of gratitude that cannot be emphasized enough. Also, some of Maddie's favorite teachers this year are ASU alumni. Go Hornets!
5. This was the most interesting thing I heard on the radio this week. Apparently it isn't new, but as I was subjected to Robin Thicke or OneRepublic every single time I tried to listen to non-NPR radio last year, I am especially appreciative of 104.9 The GUMP. Upon further inspection, I've decided I like the sound more than the meaning (eek).
[Ed. note: I found out this morning that Daniel Wallace will be in town on September 6 to sign copies ofBig Fish(I KNOW!!!!) so I'm going to leave this giveaway open for a few extra days; the winner will now receive a signed copy!]
[Ed. note, #2: Comments are now closed, though I'm going to open them back up for a little bit this weekend so I can comment on all these cool coincidences!!]
A few months ago I was listening to aThis American Life podcast about coincidence stories; it was an especially good episode, because it featured a number of stories that make you say "NO WAY!" and shake your head at the sheer unbelievability of how such a coincidence could actually occur. As I was listening, I was thinking about the coincidences I've experienced in my life; up until that point, the only one with true staying power was the one about my locks: the Masterlock lock I began using in 7th grade for gym at Kimpton (and still have!) was exactly one digit off the combination for each turn as my high school locker for four years (34-0-14 and 35-1-13). That seems like a really super one to me, but maybe not noteworthy enough to submit to This American Life or anything.
Since I listened to that episode, I now have two more stories to add to my list of coincidence stories. The first the one is about how Maddie's first friend at her new middle school just so happens to be the daughter of a friend of fellow photographer and scrapbooker Christa Paustenbaugh; the girls found each other independently of knowing this connection. It was only when her mama and I struck up a conversation about being new in town and where'd we come from at a school orientation (as you do when you're a military family) that I learned they had just recently come from Japan. Ever the seeker of needles in haystacks, I said "hey, my friend Christa just moved from Japan too!" and she said "hey, she's my friend too!" which I find to be a pretty coincidental kind of discovery. Especially since they weren't assigned to the same place in Japan, but rather met at a previous assignment. Christa had been hoping we'd meet, but hadn't yet given us the heads up to go looking for each other.
The other one is quite possibly the most unbelievable coincidence I've ever experienced. Here goes:
So right after we got back from Disney World last month we took Maddie over to her new school to check things out and get her signed up for the already-in-progress symphonic band camp going on (which, coincidentally, is where Maddie met her new friend). It was scheduled early in the morning a few times a week, and one of the days I took her over Matt didn't have to be at school until a little later in the morning so I opted to explore downtown Montgomery instead of driving all the way home and back. One of the places I went was a bookstore I had scouted out last November when we were online house hunting, Capitol Book & News. We didn't end up renting the house down the street from the bookstore, alas. When I walked in, I could tell that it was a hundred times cooler than my Google Map walking tour let on.
This place is room after little quaint room of very thoughtfully-stocked bookshelves. Here's a peek at the children's book room:
I gleefully explored for about an hour, picking up a few birthday gifts and Other Things I Couldn't Pass By. I took a bunch of photos of books I wanted to remember for later (does anyone else do this in bookstores? I must have 100 photos of me holding books in my hand). My last selection was a copy of Big Fish, which I have written about here before; it's a book/movie that I absolutely, positively loved but is also very significant to me because it was the book that got me to finally work up the nerve to query Simple Scrapbooks back in 2004. I'm pretty sure my copy is missing—I think I must have lent it out at some point so I decided on a whim that it was time to both reread and replace it.
As it was nearing time for me to head back and get Maddie, I wandered back up front to pay. I plunked my books down with Big Fish on top; the lady working smiled and said "ah, Big Fish. That's a great story." I am always happy to strike up a conversation with a friendly bookseller, so I offered that I loved it—both the book and the movie—and was replacing my strangely lost copy. She then went on to ask me if I knew that part of the movie was filmed in Cloverdale, the neighborhood in which this book store is located right here in Montgomery?
I must have looked totally shocked but then launched into an abbreviated and blather-y explanation of why this book was so important to me; she went on to tell the whole story, how Ewan McGregor, Danny DeVito, and the rest of the cast (to include Helena Bonham Carter!) stayed in Montgomery for the months they filmed the movie, occasionally hanging out in the bookstore on their breaks and off-hours as a quiet and safe place to go. She explained that the staff tried very, very hard to maintain nonchalance about the whole thing, earning the trust and goodwill of the actors; the entire bookstore staff was invited to the final post-production dinner as a thank you for their hospitality.
Seriously. I have unwittingly bought a replacement copy of the book that I credit with launching my freelance writing career in the bookstore WHERE THE ACTORS FILMING THE MOVIE VERSION HUNG OUT?!?
I had no idea this movie was filmed in Alabama. There is no amount of head-shaking that will help me to process the unlikeliness of this coincidence, ever. Especially since I've been kind of mulling over taking some big, brave action to do more with my writing since we've moved here. Maybe my coincidence is really just the universe giving me a Big Push. Whatever the case, it truly is a coincidence of mythic proportions.
Do you have a coincidence story? Leave me a comment about it and I'll do a little random drawing in the next day or so to select one person to receive a copy of Big Fish. Because sometimes, you have to share the gifts of the universe : ) As usual with giveaways here, comments remain open until they're closed.
I love street photography, though I am mostly too much of a scaredy-cat to really pursue it most of the time. There are a few exceptions, of course, and I love the photos I've taken when I have some sort of "excuse" to be taking strangers' photos out in public (Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photo Walk, Cheyenne Frontier Days, etc.) but normally I just imagine how cool a photo would turn out if I was brave enough to take it.
It is no surprise that I was absolutely, completely enthralled by Finding Vivian Maier, a documentary that details the discovery of one of the most prolific street photographers of all time. I was familiar with some of Vivian Maier's photographs since she posthumously came on the photography world scene in the last few years, but I had never taken the time to really learn about her life until Matt and I rented it on Apple TV recently. We cannot recommend this film enough: it is a jaw-dropping, unlikely story of an immensely talented woman who kept her creative life (mostly) a secret. It has moments of heartbreak, too, told in a way that presents the price of creativity as a difficult equation to balance. I won't lie: I saw part of myself in her regarding the compulsion to take photos and collect the ephemera that documents ordinary life, and it has left me wondering why some people function this way and some people don't. In the end, I was in awe of the sheer emotion and detail she was able to capture as she roamed the streets with her charges in tow.
If you're making lunches on your new countertops (well, new to you) and you set down the knife you used to slice open a blueberry bagel,
DO NOT GET DISTRACTED AND ACCIDENTALLY SET A LUNCH BAG ON TOP OF IT.
Because when you pick up the lunch bag off the shallow countertop, the knife will slide from the edge and bounce off the top of your foot, causing an immediate gory scene all over your kitchen at 6:35 a.m. It doesn't matter that the cut is actually less than 1/8" long, it will still result in a giant goose egg and make it nearly impossible to wear a shoe on your right foot for the immediate future.
When you live in the south, geckos come out at night and hang around your outside doors (and occasionally get inside to a bathroom somehow, ack). They are mostly harmless, as far as we can tell. However, if you see one running across the front porch on your way out to walk with the dog at night,
DO NOT STOP TO LOOK AT IT BECAUSE THE DOG WILL EAT IT WHOLE.
I kid you not. We have a gecko-eating dog. I googled it, and it's a thing. It won't kill her or anything, but it also isn't recommended to feed one's dog geckos. All I can think about is a gecko running around her insides. YUCK.